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Winding Down

by on April 23, 2013

html_logoIt’s hard to believe, but the semester—and, for many of us, grad school—is almost over. Our class covered so much from the basics of data visualization to infographics to what seemed like every programming language known to man. Admittedly, it all seemed like a blur until I started going back through our handouts and exercises to plan for final projects.

Of the massive amount of skills we covered, I found the actual programming the most interesting and helpful. While I wouldn’t call myself a PHP developer, and Ruby and Python are still mostly Greek to me, the introduction was a big help. From here, I feel confident that I could teach myself the rest of the way. I’m certainly stubborn and cocky enough.

I do know that I’ll need the coding as much as anything else going forward in my career. In addition to designing Web sites, landing pages and digital marketing collateral, my job at the Capital Area Food Bank will include developing ways to communicate the organization’s data. I’ll be using a lot of the skills we covered in class as well as the principles we read about in the Data Journalism Handbook.

Since this is going to be an integral part of my career, falling behind the times will not be an option. Luckily, there’s no shortage of resources to keep up to date and further build on what we started in class. For starters, I plan to keep going to the ONA and Hacks/Hackers meet ups and look for others to go to. I already have my eye on meet ups for Python, Ruby and Drupal.

I’ll also keep going to SXSW Interactive (as long as I have the money or can con someone else into paying for me), ISOJ and other conferences and workshops. I find that these are good places to find out what I need to know so I can then go learn it on my own. When it comes down to it, that’s the single greatest takeaway from this class and Texas State’s new media program in general: we learned how to keep learning long after we leave the classroom.

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